Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When to Interfere: A Decision Tree

Sometimes when you're working with someone, you see a project start to go a bit wrong. Maybe it's not proceeding as quickly as it should, or maybe it's someone trying something new. As a manager, how do you know when to step in?

This is the heuristic I use:

It's pretty simple: if they're going to be publicly embarrassed, if they're never going to finish, or if it can't be fixed, speak up. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and let the person doing the project learn.


  1. Looks good to me!

    I'm curious why you would speak up if it's "the way you would have done it"? Do you insist that your team always do things differently than you would?

  2. Good catch, Joe! It's not always going to be necessary to say something if they're approaching a problem the same way I would have. I do like diversity of thought on my team - there are so many approaches to the same problem - that if it happens too much then I'll probably speak up to encourage them to branch out a bit in their thought processes. (Cloning is definitely NOT one of my goals!) That's a bit of a different problem, though.

  3. Gee, this looks unnecessarily complicated.

    If you think project is going a bit wrong, wait for team to correct it and if it is not corrected in an adequate time frame - speak up. It really does not matter what you think is going wrong and whether you are correct or not.